Four Basic Barware Tools for Your Home
While waiting to put in your drink order at the bar, patiently or impatiently, you’ve probably seen a tender using a few tools to make the magic in the glass you’re waiting to drink. If you’re just starting to try to tend at home, these are the basic tools you’ll need for whipping up the cocktails of your dreams. Plus, we’ve recommended some of our top Advanced Mixology favorites. Now get shakin’!
The classic shaker tin is known has a history. Shakers in some form are said to have existed for thousands of years in South America. However, the New York Times credits George Foster with the first description of the modern shaker written in 1848: “With his shirt sleeves rolled up, and his face in a fiery glow [the bartender] seems to be pulling long ribbons of julep out of a tin cup.”
The shaker also came in a few different slightly different shapes with accompanying names: the Boston shaker to American bartenders, the Parisian to Brits, and the Cobbler. But the Boston shape is the one we know and use the most today. We love this set: cool, steely, and sleek as James Bond.
If the famous phrase was “Stirred, not shaken,” this would have been the tool to for the job. Bar spoons are generally for stirring cocktails that will put some hair on your chest. However, you can also use them for imprecise measuring. A bar spoon is about a teaspoon and can be used as such when making forgiving drinks. It also has the length needed to fish out any over garnishes that are a bit too pulpy.
You can also use a bar spoon to layer drinks such as the B 52 or Angel’s Kiss. Pour the heaviest liqueur on bottom (a simple Google search will help you out there), then drizzle the top layers into the spoon so that it slides off the spoon and gently into the glass, and voila. That neat little trick will raise the bar, and some eyebrows, for your lucky guests. Do it with this handsome spiral spoon.
The jigger is one of the most essential pieces of bar equipment since it guarantees perfect measuring. This tool is hourglass shaped and used strictly for liquid measurements. Rumor has it that it acquired its old timey name from being referred to as a “thingamajig” so many times, bartenders shortened it to “jigger”.
The standard jigger holds 1.5 ounces on the large side, and 1 ounce on the other. The one ounce side is called a pony shot, and the 1.5 ounce side a jigger shot. Try out this sleek copper jigger to match the perfect set of Moscow Mule mugs!
The muddler is the o.g. bar tool. It may not be much to look at--early versions resembled a wooden dowel rounded on one end and flat on the other--but incorporating this simple addition to your bartending produces sweet results. Nowadays muddlers come in smooth stainless steel, free of rust and splinters.
If you haven’t enjoyed a cocktail that required a good muddling then you haven’t lived. The muddler is perfect for, well, muddling, whether it’s the sugar in your old fashioned, or fresh mint in a mojito, to jalapenos in a spicy martini. The muddler makes the fresh ingredients come alive. The fact that we still use the muddler shows its timelessness and simply perfect design. Pro tip:
don’t over muddle, 5-8 press is plenty, then shake well.
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